Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Invention Combines Features Of Keyboard, Fretless String Instrument

Date:
August 14, 2000
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Necessity often does prove to be the mother of invention. But Lippold Haken's continuum fingerboard -- a new breed among electronic instruments -- was born not so much out of necessity as from the inventor's passion for music and penchant for tinkering with electronics.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Necessity often does prove to be the mother of invention. But Lippold Haken's continuum fingerboard -- a new breed among electronic instruments -- was born not so much out of necessity as from the inventor's passion for music and penchant for tinkering with electronics.

Related Articles


After nearly two decades of development and experimentation, the instrument -- a MIDI controller that gives performers continuous control over each note played -- is primed and ready for an international show-and-tell session. Haken, an adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois and leader of the UI's CERL Sound Group, will demonstrate his invention at the International Computer Music Conference Aug. 28-Sept. 1 in Berlin.

The continuum fingerboard, which connects to a synthesizer or USB-capable computer, resembles a piano keyboard in shape and size, and, like a keyboard, is played with the fingers. However, it is more akin to a fretless string instrument in that it doesn't have discrete pitches.

"Any pitch may be played," said Haken, adding that the dynamics of the sound are controlled by finger pressure. "The front-to-back position of each finger affects timbre." Vibrato can be achieved by wiggling a finger on a particular spot on the instrument's surface, and glissando -- a smooth transition from one note to another -- also is possible.

"I've been interested in sound morphing for a long time," said the inventor, who hopes his instrument might be embraced by musicians and composers who create computer-generated music for a multitude of purposes from advertising to film scores. "But I especially want to see it in live concert," said Haken, a lifelong fan of live music who knows his own way around a viola but humbly insists, "I play best with the door closed."

It may be a while before vast numbers of musicians start beating down Haken's door to acquire the continuum fingerboard. So far, only five full-sized models and two half-sized models have been manufactured. And Haken is the first to admit that his invention may not be the easiest instrument to learn to play. In part, that's because it doesn't have keys or other indicators to assist the musician in determining finger placement. The flat playing surface consists of a soft, red fabric that covers the mechanics of the instrument -- 256 rods, 5.75 inches long, mounted on piano-wire springs.

"The rods are covered by cloth so that the performer has the impression of a continuous surface rather than discrete keys," Haken said. "A magnet is mounted at both ends of each rod, and the rods are placed between two rows of Hall-effect sensors." The sensors measure the positions of the magnets, and when the performer applies pressure, rods under the finger are depressed and the magnets on those rods move closer to the sensors. Scanning software running on the instrument's internal computer then detects fingers by looking for any bar that has normalized sensor values greater than both of its neighboring bars.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Invention Combines Features Of Keyboard, Fretless String Instrument." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000807071349.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (2000, August 14). Invention Combines Features Of Keyboard, Fretless String Instrument. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000807071349.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Invention Combines Features Of Keyboard, Fretless String Instrument." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000807071349.htm (accessed February 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 26, 2015) Dutch scientists have developed a smart bicycle that uses sensors, wireless technology and video to warn riders of traffic dangers. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Robot dogs are the perfect pet for some in Japan who go to repairmen-turned-vets when their pooch breaks down - while a full Buddhist funeral ceremony awaits those who don&apos;t make it. Duration: 02:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Forensic science, which has fascinated generations with its unravelling of gruesome crime mysteries, is being put under the microscope in an exhibition of real criminal investigations in London. Duration: 00:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Scientists in Austria have been able to fit patients who&apos;ve lost the use of a hand with bionic prostheses the patients control with their minds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins